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GenAI – embracing multiple viewpoints

16 Apr 2024 | Prof Kirsty Kiezebrink, Dr Louise Drumm, Natalie Lafferty, Rosemarie McIlwhan, Dr Sara Preston In advance of April’s #LTHEchat on X, the cross-institutional team working on Advance HE's Collaborative Development Fund 2023-24 project, 'Towards inclusive intelligence: a comprehensive examination of GenAI attitudes among HE stakeholders', reflect on sector progress with embedding Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) tools in learning and teaching in higher education.

Since the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022, and the world becoming aware of large language models, higher education institutions have been grappling with the implications of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) tools in learning and teaching and their impact on higher education. Over this time, a range of institutional perspectives have emerged, from the early calls to ban AI in education, to more measured approaches.  

Most institutions have now introduced or updated policies to cover the use of GenAI and have been providing guidance and support for staff and students on how it can be used in education. However, given the changing spectrum of GenAI technologies, keeping up to date can be challenging. 


Against this background, staff and students understandably have a range of viewpoints and experiences in relation to GenAI. Whilst some portray this as a polarised debate, the reality is more nuanced. Neither staff nor students are a homogenous group, instead comprising of people with a range of digital and information literacies, capabilities, perspectives and experiences.  

Anecdotally, we are hearing from staff and students that they are experiencing a maelstrom of emotions in relation to GenAI. Navigating the complexities of the GenAI landscape can in itself be overwhelming or disorientating. The discussion on GenAI in education needs to be cognisant of all of this, but for this to be effective the discussion needs to be based in evidence rather than anecdotes or conjecture.  

However, at present there is limited data on the attitudes and perceptions of diverse higher education stakeholders regarding the use of GenAI in HE. National Centre for AI (2023), Drumm (2023) and HEPI (2024) all explored student attitudes to GenAI, but research on the attitudes and perceptions of academic staff is limited, and practically non-existent for professional services staff working in higher education. 


What is clear from this limited research is that students want support in how to use AI effectively and ethically. They also have concerns about how other students, and particularly, how staff might use GenAI, including for assessment and feedback. This is not a situation where staff know more than students, therefore working in partnership is essential.  

The member benefit project Towards inclusive intelligence: a comprehensive examination of GenAI attitudes among HE stakeholders, part of the 2023-24 Collaborative Development Fund seeks to address this evidence gap. The project will explore student, academic and professional services staff perspectives on GenAI across various HE institutions. The study will adopt a sequential exploratory mixed methods design involving a qualitative phase and a quantitative phase.  


As part of the quantitative research phase, the research team will be conducting surveys of students and staff in May. We are keen to explore multiple perspectives on the evolving relationship between GenAI and educational practice, including those whose voices are typically under-represented. We invite all institutions to engage with the research and share the surveys with their staff and students. If you are interested in hearing more about this research or helping share the survey, please email  

You can find out more about the cross-institutional collaborative project team here.


As GenAI continues to develop and students and staff continue to adapt to its impact in education, understanding the changes in student and staff perspectives and experiences will be critical to providing appropriate support and guidance. Whether you are excited by the opportunities that GenAI tools offer, concerned about their impact on graduate attributes and the potential to de-skill students or find yourself somewhere in between, it is clear that academic staff, professional services staff and students need to work together transparently and with a critical perspective to explore the how GenAI may be used in education ethically, responsibly and equitably.  



Drumm, L. (2023) ChatGPT and me, Edinburgh Napier University. 

Freeman, J. (2024) Provide or punish: Students views of generative AI in higher education, HEPI number Policy Note 51, Oxford. 

National Centre for AI (2023) Student perceptions of generative AI, JISC, Bristol. 


Join the LTHE chat on Wednesday 24 April, co-hosted by Advance HE and the cross-institutional collaborative project team, to share your experiences of working with GenAI with  @AdvanceHE_chat and @LTHEchat  using the hashtag #LTHEchat.  


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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